The Department of Education's grab-and-go free meal service has been expanded to include anyone who wants food, no questions asked.
The DOE had previously launched the grab-and-go meals for all children 18 and younger in the city after public schools were closed March 15th — roughly 75 percent of the public school system's 1.1 million students would qualify for free or reduced-fee meals and depend on the free breakfasts and lunches that have been provided by the DOE since 2017.
Now, the DOE has announced the free meals of breakfast, lunch and dinner will be available to adults as well, at all of the 435 pickup spots around the five boroughs between 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.
The hours for families and children to pick up their meals are from 7:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., and adults from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. though the DOE said no one will be turned away if they come outside of their designated times. Parents and guardians may pick up meals for their children as well.
The city will have vegetarian and halal options available. No registration or ID is necessary, though the food must be consumed outside of the pickup spots.
The program was expanded to help "a half million New Yorkers who lost their job as a result of COVID-19," Mayor Bill de Blasio said on the Brian Lehrer show Friday. "So my first concern is that even though there's food on the shelves, a lot of people can't afford it."
"You'll get breakfast, lunch, and dinner for as many people as you indicate you need it for," he added. "There's going to be absolute respect that families are in need and... the workers there have a green light to give people whatever they deem appropriate. And that's going to be every weekday for the foreseeable future because we want to make sure there's a very widespread network of food."
"I just think you're going to see with every passing week, people are just going to run out of money and need food. So we have to ensure that we have a very strong delivery mechanism and we have to make sure that food gets where it's needed," he said.
To find locations of the grab-and-go program, you can text “FOOD” or “COMIDA” to 877-877, call 311, or check the map here.